I. To The Peace Of 1748: Introductory note

Pages 3-8

The Barrington Papers, Vol. 77. Originally published by Navy Record Society, London, 1937.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section



Samuel Barrington entered the service in 1740 under the auspices of Lord George Graham, younger son of the Duke of Montrose.

The first ship for which Barrington was subsequently accorded sea time was the Adventure, which Graham took over from Captain Richard Norris at Sheerness in March 1740. As the ship's company of the Adventure had been raised and trained by Norris and now followed him to the Gloucester, Graham's main employment at Sheerness was getting together a fresh ship's company. From the absence of his name on the Adventure's muster book it is possible that Barrington was excused from joining her. In May 1740 the Adventure was ordered up the river to Deptford to be paid off and laid up.

Graham was at the same time appointed to the Lark at Portsmouth, and was given authority to take with him his petty officers and foremastmen in the Adventure. Barrington thereupon joined the Lark at Portsmouth on June 20th, 1740, and was rated Captain's servant. Graham received orders to take arms to the military at Kinsale; but upon other arrangements being made he was directed, in July, to put himself under the orders of Captain Philip Vincent of the St Albans and escort the Turkey Trade. The St Albans and Lark sailed from Spithead on September 18th. Anson in the Centurion, bound for the South Seas, was leaving about the same time; and from the 20th till the 28th the two squadrons sailed in company. Thereafter the St Albans and Lark took the Turkey Trade through the Straits to Smyrna and Tenedos. Returning with the homeward-bound Trade, they were escorted through the Gut by Admiral Haddock with the Mediterranean fleet, and anchored in the Downs on June 25th, 1741.

In his absence Graham had been elected Member of Parliament for Stirling. The Lark remained in the Downs pressing seamen from the homeward-bound Trade, and was then ordered to Sheerness, where Graham transferred the command to Lord George Forrester, who paid off the ship on October 28th, 1741.

In company with the rest of the Lark's complement, Barrington was turned over to the Leopard on October 29th; he was rated ordinary seaman on the ship's books. The Leopard was launched next day at Perry's yard at Blackwall; and for the next three months Lord George Forrester was employed fitting out the ship, which he sailed to the Nore at the end of January 1742. Six months' cruising in the Channel followed, and then Forrester was given the duty of taking out the subsidy to the Queen of Hungary. The Leopard sailed from St Helens in the last week of July and reached Trieste on October 4th, landing the fifteen chests and four casks of money. Calling in at Lisbon on her return voyage, she brought home the Trade from the Tagus and was back in the Downs by the beginning of March 1743. She resumed Channel cruising till October, when the Leopard, Jersey, Augusta and Dover were put under Captain Barnet of the Prince and sent on a cruise off the coast of Barbary. Whilst in the Tagus, preparing to convoy home the Trade, Forrester received orders to join the Mediterranean fleet. The Leopard joined Mathews off Port Mahon on February 29th, 1744, just after the fleet action off Toulon, and was with the fleet at Port Mahon when Lestock struck his flag on March 17th.

War with France was now officially declared. The Leopard participated in the assistance given by Mathews to the Sardinians in their resistance to the Franco-Spanish army that terminated in the capitulation of Villefranche; and was subsequently one of Commodore Long's squadron sent down to the Tiber to assist Prince Lobkowitz. In September the fleet was concentrated at Port Mahon, where, on September 20th, 1744, Lord George Forrester exchanged ships with Lord Colville and assumed command of the Dursley Galley.

Practically the whole Mediterranean fleet was now officered on an acting basis, as long lists came out from Whitehall of ranks and ratings required by Lestock as witnesses for the Parliamentary inquiry into the Toulon affair and for the subsequent courts martial. Giles Richard Vanbrugh, Forrester's First Lieutenant, was given acting command of H.M.S. Feversham on September 21st, 1744, and took Barrington with him. The Feversham was actively employed, at times cruising, at times with the fleet; and was with Rowley (who succeeded Mathews) at the bombardment of Genoa in September 1745. A week later, on September 25th, Barrington passed his examination for the rank of Lieutenant. His Passing Certificate reads:

Pursuant to an Order from William Rowley Esqr. Vice-Admiral of the White and Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels employed in the Mediterranean to us directed, we have called before us the Honble. Samuel Barrington and it appears to us he is upwards of twenty years of age and has been at sea in the ships and qualitys undermentioned:

Ships. Qualitys. Years. Months. Weeks. Days.
Adventure Able 1 1
Lark Do.
Leopard Do. 8 3 2
Leopard Midshipman 2 4 5
Feversham Do. 1 1 5
5 3 5

He produces Journals kept by him for the Adventure, Lark, Leopard and Feversham and Certificates from Lords George Graham [and] Forrester and Capt. Vanbrugh of his diligence, sobriety and obedience to command. He can splice, knot, reef a sail, work a ship in sailing, keep a reckoning of a ship's ways by plain sailing and mercator, observe by sun or star, find the variation of the compass, shift his tides and is qualified to do the duty of an Able Seaman or Midshipman in His Majesty's Navy.

Given under our hands on board His Majesty's Ship Marlborough at sea the 25th September 1745.
R. Hughes.
G. R. Vanbrugh.
Arth. Gardiner.

On September 29th Vanbrugh assumed acting command of H.M.S. Antelope, and on October 13th Barrington joined her with an acting appointment as Third Lieutenant. His advancement had been recommended to Rowley by the Duke of Bedford, First Lord of the Admiralty; and on December 28th, 1745, the Secretary of the Admiralty wrote (fn. 1) to Medley, Rowley's successor, that it was the Board's desire 'in case that recommendation has not taken effect, that you will provide for the said Gentleman when an opportunity offers.'

On February 5th, 1746, the Secretary of the Admiralty wrote (fn. 2) to Medley: 'It is their Lordships' direction that you give Mr Barrington (brother to Lord Barrington) who is on board one of the ships under your command, leave to come home to England, and to send him by the quickest conveyance you can.' Barrington was still in the Antelope. On February 6th he lost his commanding officer, Vanbrugh, who was drowned when his boat was run down in the dark whilst returning to the ship and all lives were lost. Medley, then at Gibraltar, acknowledged receipt of the Admiralty order about Barrington on April 20th, stating (fn. 3) that: 'Mr Barrington is now a Lieutenant of the Antelope and with the convoy going to Mahon. I shall send directions for his proceeding to England by the first opportunity.' Barrington was discharged from the books of the Antelope at Port Mahon on May 30th, 1746.

Upon his arrival home, Barrington's acting commission of October 13th, 1745, was confirmed by the Admiralty on September 8th, 1746.

Barrington was given command of the sloop Weazle, in succession to Hugh Palliser who was promoted to post rank. The Weazle came into Plymouth Sound on November 6th, 1746, and Barrington began his log that day with the entry:

'This day I came on board and took command of His Majesty's sloop the Weazle, not having had an opportunity of getting on board before.'

His seniority as a Master and Commander was dated the day he assumed command of the Weazle. The Weazle was attached to the Western Squadron, under Anson, and after a routine cleaning she joined the Commander-in-Chief at sea on January 9th, 1747. Anson was then cruising off Finisterre, but at the end of the month the squadron returned home for refit. Anson entrusted his orders to detached ships to return to port to Captain Cotes of H.M.S. Edinburgh, and the Weazle was one of the vessels given to Cotes to facilitate their delivery. The Weazle parted company in a gale, and Barrington returned to Plymouth on February 10th. He was then ordered by the Admiralty to cruise between Beachy Head and the Isle of Wight; and on April 10th ordered to proceed to Flushing and put himself under the command of Commodore Michell. He joined Michell on April 13th, 1747.

Michell, who was Commander-in-Chief in the Downs, was being reinforced to enable him to co-operate with the Dutch in the defence of Zeeland. The dispatch of troops was being arranged, and Lord Sandwich, one of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, was at the moment at The Hague arranging for the co-operation of a Dutch squadron under Vice-Admiral Schryver. Major-General Fuller with the transports arrived at Flushing on April 14th, the day that the States of Zeeland declared the Prince of Orange Stadtholder. Whilst part of Michell's squadron operated up the Scheldt, the Weazle was employed along the coast, her capture of La Gorgonne being mentioned in the London Gazette. On May 12th the log of the Weazle records that 'the Commodore drest his Ship, to celebrate the arrival of the Prince of Orange at Flushing,' and the Weazle herself fired nineteen guns in celebration of the visit, the public entry of the Prince of Orange into Flushing coinciding with the arrival of the transports bringing Major-General Huske and the Foot Guards.

The Weazle, being due for her periodical cleaning, was replaced by the Sheerness. She sailed from Flushing on June ist, and anchored in the Downs on the 4th, after which she went on to Portsmouth to clean. Barrington had meanwhile been nominated to command the Bellona, an appointment that gave him post rank, with seniority May 29th, 1747.

The Bellona was an ex-French privateer that had been captured in the Channel in February 1747. She was the first ship of her name in the Royal Navy, and Barrington her first commanding officer. He assumed command of her on June nth, 1747, at Portsmouth, where she was in dock, and his orders were to prepare her for service. He sailed from Spithead on July 25th with dispatches for Sir Peter Warren—dispatches of an important nature at the time, for they informed Warren that Anson had resigned the Western Squadron and that Warren had been promoted Vice-Admiral of the White and appointed his successor. The Bellona caught Warren at anchor in Plymouth Sound on August 1st. Warren thereupon sent the Bellona to join Commodore Norris, senior officer cruising in the Bay of Biscay; and on the 19th (fn. 4) Barrington captured the Duc de Chartrez. The Bellona and prize anchored in Plymouth Sound on September 3rd, and thence came on to Portsmouth where the Bellona was ordered for repair.

Barrington's own ship action caused him to miss Hawke's fleet action. Whilst the Bellona was alongside the hulk the French prizes taken in the Bay came into Portsmouth harbour. On November 10th, 1747, Barrington sailed from Spithead to join Commodore Mostyn and that portion of the Western Squadron which was at Plymouth. He was not long in command of the Bellona, being appointed on November 21st, 1747, to the Romney in succession to Captain the Hon. William Bateman.

The Romney was fitting out at Plymouth when Barrington was appointed to her. She was fifty-three short of complement, partly due to Captain Bateman having taken with him to the Windsor part of his former ship's company. Sir Edward Hawke, Rear-Admiral of the White, was temporarily in command of the Western Squadron whilst Sir Peter Warren was sick ashore; Hawke anchored with the Portsmouth division in Plymouth Sound on January 13th, 1748, and was there joined by the Plymouth division under Captain Harrison of the Monarch. He immediately dispatched Barrington in the Romney with the Amazon to look into Brest. Whilst on this service the Gerardus was captured and brought into Plymouth. Sir Peter Warren and Vice-Admiral Schryver (with eight Dutch ships) were about to sail from Portsmouth, and Barrington was sent orders to join them, which he did on February 7th. Warren thereupon put the Romney under Captain James Webb of the Surprize with orders to cruise to the westward of Scilly on Trade protection, for the defence of the Jamaica convoy against privateers. On March 13th the Romney rejoined the flag, and was sent into Plymouth for cleaning, when Warren himself proceeded to Portsmouth with the main body of the fleet.

The war was now drawing to a close. On May 5th, 1748, the Proclamation was issued declaring a Cessation of Arms against France. The Romney sailed from Plymouth on May 13th in company with the Salisbury and Assurance; they joined Harrison cruising at sea and proceeded southward in search of Warren, who received the Proclamation on the 19th off Finisterre. As hostilities had not ceased against Spain, Warren sent the Dutch Auxiliary Squadron home, and proceeded southward with the squadron for a month's cruise towards the Canary Islands, sending his cruisers to blockade the coast of Spain. The Romney, with the Bristol, Intrepide and Assurance, under Captain Edgcumbe of the Salisbury, parted company from the fleet on March 26th and sailed to reinforce the blockading cruisers.

Meanwhile the Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle was arranging a general peace, and, with Spain's acceptance of the Preliminary Articles, the war was over. The Romney was ordered to convoy home any Trade in the Tagus. Barrington anchored off Lisbon on July 31st; sailed again on August 16th, and reached Spithead on September 3rd. The Romney was paid off at Portsmouth on September 16th, 1748.


  • 1. P.R.O., Ad. II, 494.
  • 2. Ibid. 495.
  • 3. P.R.O., Ad. I, 382.
  • 4. His dispatch says 18th; but his log says 19th.